ArticlesDeck Tech – Cat and Bat (and ‘Borg)

Dan GreenJanuary 23, 2019

Since the release of Batman, the trait-based synergies of the set have taken the center stage: Bat Family secured a top 4 position at the GenCon 2018 $2k, Rogues Gallery and GCPD littered the top 4 of both MXOLT I and MXOLT II – and Arkham Inmates broke out into the top 4 of the former as well – and, of course, Hero- and Villain-centric decks have been making the top cuts of all of those “higher level” events so far, and thanks to their wide pool of support, they will likely continue to do so for a long time to come!

In addition to all the great new traits and traited support, Batman also included a few “name” support cards hitting some of the bigger names in the Batman- and DC-Universe. We’ve previously looked at how to build a deck around some of the excellent Harley Quinn and The Joker support in our second Deck Tech article, and today we are looking at the fascinating

Cat and Bat,  a potent discard effect that asks you to meet some interesting requirements in order to use it: Instead of keeping a board full of Catwoman and/or Batman, we need to keep them in the discard pile, and keep any other Characters out of it. While there are a number of effective ways to accomplish that (thanks to a variety of interesting Batman and Catwoman options), for today’s deck, we are going to look at keeping that discard pile clean while amping up discard pressure on the opponent, and, hopefully, looping around some of our best effects to keep the engine running.

Three’s Company

Your first thought may have been, “I thought this was supposed to be a Batman and Catwoman deck, what’s Cyborg – Victor Stone doing here?”

Well, it is. But someone’s got to get the setup going, and nobody sets up Cat and Bat like Cyborg. We often refer to certain cards as glue cards – these are the ones that fit right into the middle of a deck and keep everything held together. These are the cards that make everything work, so your deck can pull off multi-faceted strategies on a consistent basis. Cyborg – in this deck – could be the new definition of a glue card by how much he does to keep this deck held together.

First and foremost, drawing two and discarding two lets you not only dig to the little combo pieces your deck is looking for, but it lets you selectively discard to seed the discard pile with copies of Batman and Catwoman so that you can keep Cat and Bat turned on. Remember, you can’t use it if there isn’t at least one copy of Batman and/or Catwoman in there! And if there are any non-Batman/non-Catwoman characters – which, in this deck, would be Cyborg – you also cannot use it. But we’ll get to that in a moment!

Cyborg also happens to generate 3 MP when played, and if you’ve been playing along at home, you may have noticed that’s the exact MP cost of Cat and Bat! With Cyborg, a first turn Cat and Bat to drop your opponent down 2 cards right from the start is a real play. Especially  if you are going second – and already up a card on your opponent – this can create an uphill battle for them that can turn a game in your favor on its own. But as the cherry on top, Cat and Bat also shuffles the discarded character back into your deck, ensuring that you aren’t losing a valuable character effect that you might need later on in the game.

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As for those effects, we’ve opted to run an even split of Batman and Catwoman in the deck, and the versions we’ve chosen mesh together in a very cohesive way. Leading the charge is Catwoman – Burglar Extraordinaire who has the ability to tack on additional discard effects when she lands an attack with a Basic battle card. Our deck contains 5 of such cards, with several ways of getting them back out of the discard to make sure you can threaten with XR Catwoman’s effect as often as possible. Similarly, Catwoman – Thief provides us crucial replenishment of non-event cards from the discard pile – which is one of several ways to get Cyborg out of there and keep your Cat and Bat live! We’ll talk about more of her uses in a moment…

For the Batmen, notably we’ve gone with two Hero traited Batman variants – Batman – Dark Knight, who helps us control the opponent’s blocks which can help XR Catwoman connect, or help Catwoman – Thief get in attacks safely, and Batman – Bruce Wayne, who provides discard protection of his own – turning an opposing hand control deck into an asset as we are able to control what’s in our discard pile while maintaining hand size.

Cat-fighting

A lot of the deck’s effectiveness really relies on attacking with either Catwoman – and the battle cards are built to synergize well with them.

Any good hand control deck tends to use a variety of means of discarding cards from the opponent’s hand, trying to hit this “critical mass” of effects that can bring the opponent down to zero-to-few ways to respond. In addition to Cat and Bat, and XR Catwoman, this deck utilizes 4 Special (C48-JL), with the intent of keeping up on cards in other ways and making the opponent make harder choices with a smaller hand than you. Normally this would just add a few extra cards of discard, which wouldn’t be a ton, but we’ve paired it with a devilish duo of effects – Catwoman – Thief and 1 Special (R125-AT). Catwoman – Thief will let you put Battle Cards (or Characters) back on the bottom of your deck from your discard, and 1 Special on the next attack/defense will let you grab those back to re-use them right away. With this combo, you can keep the discard pressure on the opponent, hopefully getting to the point where they are very low on Battle Card options, making it easier to pressure them with XR Catwoman and just score VPs in general. You can also re-use cards like 3 Intelligence (C43-JL) which lets you in turn re-use a 1 Special, or 1 Strength (C32-GL) for card draw, or get back a 1 Strength/Intelligence/Special (C40-BM) battle card to keep your XR Catwoman online.

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To aid in this card recycling, two copies of Rank and File are in the deck as well, which serve both as a way to immediately draw two clutch cards you tucked with Catwoman on a previous turn, as well as providing an additional discard outlet to turn on Cat and Bat. All of these tools give the deck a lot of extra legs to keep attacks flowing in the late game well past the number of cards left in hand, provided you keep careful track of where your cards are and in what order! As an added bonus, any deck running several draw-from-the-bottom effects can strategically mulligan at the start of the game with full knowledge of which cards they can grab in the early game!

A Deck with Nine Lives

The final pieces of the puzzle are Dynamic Duo and 5 Special (C54-BM), which both aid in your control of the discard pile and keeping your deck freshly stocked with options. Dynamic Duo is both a way to get Cyborg out of the discard pile when he is unwanted, and as a way to get Catwoman – Burglar Extraordinaire back in play to keep her effect online and your pressure consistent. It only requires that you have one of your 6 Batman cards in play to use – which shouldn’t be too hard, because the deck has loads of ways to keep them flowing back into your deck, including 5 Special (C54-BM), which ALSO serves as a way to get Cyborg out of the discard pile while providing free card draw in combat. With 9 Hero characters in the deck and several ways to discard them, you should rarely have an issue with this card’s effect becoming unusable.

The combined powers of Cat and Bat, Catwoman – Thief, and 5 Special (C54-BM) give you a lot of natural card recursion, meaning this deck is very difficult to attrition out aside from a dedicated card-draw-based mill strategy. It also features the ability to burst out hand control from the start of the game, or save up for a Play-of-the-Game hand dump later on by playing several Cat and Bats in the same turn, and adding on a 4 Special and/or an XR Catwoman attack for good measure. All in all, it’s a surprisingly potent deck that can even tango with some of the stronger decks in the metagame. But, of course, no deck is without its weaknesses!

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Cat-tastrophic Counters

It’s going to be pretty obvious, but anti-discard characters really hurt this deck, and that includes Harley Quinn – Skilled Gymnast, Vixen, Saint Walker – The Power of Hope, and opposing copies of Batman – Bruce Wayne. This list currently has no real ways to deal with them, often relying on its raw card advantage to push through other matchups, but if you fear these cards, you’ll need to tech in cards like Power Players, Disgraced, or Knockout to ensure they can be dealt with.

On the other side of things, decks with excessive card draw like mill decks using Hawkman and Birds of a Feather, or more aggressive decks using Robin – Boy Wonder or Captain Levi – Juggernaut can often out-value some of your clutch plays, forcing you to rely on repeated discard and the battle card looping of Catwoman – Thief to keep your momentum up. While it’s not specific to these matchups, a lot of decks that give this deck trouble can also face trouble against Echolocation, which would add a targeted discard effect to your mass of discard effects, preventing the opponent from hanging on to that last, most critical card until they can execute a turnabout.

Whether you are simply a fan of Batman and Catwoman, or you are looking for a new style of discard or are tired of trait-centric decks, this deck is a blast to play and might get you using some cards you’ve not given a fair shake to before. As always, drop your thoughts down in the comments below or on our social media, and let us know if you’ve got any suggestions for our future Deck Techs!

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